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Companion plants for asparagus

 
pollinator
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I'm reading Martin Crawford's book Creating A Forest Garden. He suggests underplanting asparagus with a creeping perennial for weed control. No suggestion of which creeping perennials work well for this. Or at least not so far, I haven't finished the book yet.

I think this is a really good idea. Has anyone tried it and what did you plant?

Not having tried this personally, my pick would be dwarf white clover. In addition to serving as a ground cover and competitor to grass, it would also fix nitrogen. It would also regrow quickly if disturbed when harvesting asparagus and be low to the ground so it would not cover the asparagus spears. Also a good pollinator plant.
 
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I've seen multiple sources mention strawberries but it's my first year trying it.
 
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I've seen strawberries work well on my neighbours asparagus patch
 
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I'm reaching a point in my food-forest where nothing receives tender loving care but I'm also hitting that tipping point where nature takes over.

Last year I dug a large ditch just beyond the white peonies in the photo below and filled with a bunch of wood and debris.  I then scattered wildflower seeds like yarrow and planted a few sunchokes.

I started Martha Washington Asparagus from seed and planted out a bunch of tiny seedlings in the freshly dug area.  A bunch of them didn't make it (or I can't see them) but a bunch of them did.  There are probably some hidden I don't see.  I will go out and clear some of this up this weekend.

The asparagus plant that is the most vibrant was planted next to a baby Japanese maple that volunteered, and I re-planted.  I also broadcast some clover and let it run.  The plant you see in the picture has been trimmed quite a bit because it started choking out the maple.

In the large patch, I planted alpine strawberries next to the asparagus but Alpines are a slow grower.

If you use strawberries I would go for a full-sized everbearing variety.
My asparagus seedlings are being grown like they are wild. They are making it.  With a little hand weeding, they would explode.  I'm always nervous to keep things too neat with baby plantings because the wildflowers provide, shade, moisture, and refocus pests.

Don't do what I did and use mint and sunchokes.  Yeah, I should have known.  So to answer your question, my asparagus is growing with alpine strawberries, wildflowers, weeds, Japanese maple, and clover and they are making it.  I think most ground covers would work.
IMG_5138.JPG
Just past the peonies I planted asparagus seedlings last year
Just past the peonies I planted asparagus seedlings last year
IMG_5148.JPG
Asparagus with flowering something
Asparagus with flowering something
IMG_5147.JPG
Asparagus with weeds
Asparagus with weeds
IMG_5143.JPG
Don't use mint
Don't use mint
IMG_5136.JPG
Asparagus, Baby Japanese Maple and Clover with heavy wood chipping, very protected, the biggest plant
Asparagus, Baby Japanese Maple and Clover with heavy wood chipping, very protected, the biggest plant
 
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I agree about the strawberries!  Creeping thyme might be a good one too.

 
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Just as a thought, might Dutch White Clover be a good companion for asparagus?  Asparagus needs a lot of nitrogen and clover might be an ideal companion.

Alternatively, I am thinking about reviving my old asparagus patch, this time using copious woodchips composted with wine cap mushrooms.  My wine caps and woodchips have worked wonders on all my other plants so I don’t know why they wouldn’t also work in asparagus.

Just my thoughts,

Eric
 
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Eric, I think clover is great, but grass will tend to grtow in anywhere there is clover in my experience. I haven't seen asparagus require nitrogen fixers beyond the usual amount, but I have seen the crown vetch areas work nicely with asparagus- not much grass and the asparagus doing well. It is not nearly as high as even second year asparagus. So maybe it is a heavy feeder...
 
Andrea Locke
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I just realized that ajuga (bugleweed), which I always thought of as a rather annoying and invasive groundcover with no particular use, is both medicinal and edible. Considering that it is a rather aggressive plant it probably can compete with grasses better than some of the other things that have been mentioned in this thread.

So I'm now leaning toward a mixed groundcover of white clover, strawberries and ajuga to keep the grass more or less controlled under the asparagus. If ajuga is sufficiently tasty our picking would keep it in check.

Has anyone tried eating ajuga and what did you think of it? I don't have any on the property at present or I'd go out and take a nibble at it to find out.
 
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We've been trying to encourage strawberries and grow with our asparagus and they seem to do well together. The strawberries don't seem thick enough to control weeds though.

We do have a heavy patch of sheep sorrel growing in the asparagus and I've been treating it like a weed. Since it's so aggressive and can spread so quickly I don't want to encourage it, but it does elbow out most other weeds so maybe I should just let it go? I've often wondered if it was "bad" for the asparagus, but haven't gotten around to looking that up. Any ideas?

-WY
 
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I've got Day Lilies with my front asparagus patch, but I think the lilies are winning. I've got some in a container with a blueberry bush and they're happy there. Happier than the blueberry bush, but part of that is we've got a deep well and at times I have to use it to water the container and the blueberry would be happier with acidic rainwater. A combo strawberry/asparagus patch has been on my wish list for several years. I got the new strawberry bed this spring, but now I'll have to add the asparagus by seeding it, so I won't get a crop quickly.
 
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I had also heard of strawberrries but I found mine (white fruited alpine type) didn't want to stay in the asparagus patch.  There are various things growing in there but I don't think they are acting as "active" companions, more that they just don't particularly interfere, so I have some chives in there and musk mallow.  Also this year sowed some Nigella sativa, and there's been a resurgence of Claytonia seedlings around the place so when they've gone to seed themselves I'll probably throw a few in around the asparagus.
 
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